Royals striker starts in 2-1 win over ColombiaReading’s Fran Kirby played 66 minutes for England in their 2-1 victory over Colombia at the Women’s World Cup in Canada on Wednesday evening.
The Royals striker started in a front three alongside Toni Duggan and Karen Carney, with the latter opening the scoring before Fara Williams doubled the lead from the penalty spot before half time.
Colombia came back into the game after the break, netting a consolation deep into stoppage time, but England held on to the win, which ensured that they finished as runners up in Group F.
Mark Sampson’s side will now relocate from Montreal to Ottawa, where they will take on Norway in the round of 16 on Monday night.
After and end-to-end start to the match, England went ahead after 15 minutes. Captain Steph Houghton struck a free-kick that the Colombia goalkeeper could not hold and Carney pounced to slide home the rebound from a narrow angle.
It was another Houghton free-kick that led to the second goal. The Manchester City defender drove at goal from 18 yards, only to see her effort well blocked. The loose ball fell for Duggan, who swivelled and shot at goal, with her strike being blocked by the arm of Carolina Arias.
The referee pointed to the spot and Williams, earning her 144th international cap, fired home from 12 yards by sending a powerful effort to the keeper’s right.
England stopper Karen Bardsley charged off of her line to make a brave save from Arias seconds before the break to keep the Lionesses’ clean sheet intact.
Colombia probed for the majority of the second half but came up against a resolute defence that they were able to breach. Kirby embarked on a weaving dribble midway through the second period but was just unable to find Carney with her final ball.
She made way for Jo Potter soon afterwards and the South Americans went on to grab a consolation goal deep into injury time. Lady Andrade broke the offside trap and lofted a delicate lob over the top of Bardsley.
England held on, though, and they will now take on Group B runners up Norway on Monday.
England: Bardsley, A Scott, Houghton, Stoney, Greenwood, Nobbs, Williams, Moore, Carney (Sanderson 56), Duggan (Taylor 81), Kirby (Potter 66).
Not used: Rafferty, Bassett, J Scott, Aluko, Bronze, Chamberlain, Chapman, Telford, White.